About Emma

Emma was born in Chelsea, the youngest of six children in an Anglo-Spanish family. She studied design and architectural history at the Royal College of Art. Spending most of her working life writing for design and architectural magazines, Emma specialised in 20th century social housing, planning and architecture. She has written three books and contributed to countless others. When elected to parliament in 2017 she was half way through (now suspended) PhD research at Liverpool University School of Architecture, on architecture and political ideology under the Spanish dictator Franco; she continues to contribute on specialist subjects when time permits, with articles, lectures and academic seminars.

Emma’s interest in well-planned social housing extends across all housing tenures, where neighbourhoods can be improved by having all the everyday essentials within reasonable walking distance, along with decent transport links. All these amenities are suffering existential threat by the rising cost of rent and business rates, with high streets especially under pressure after the worst of the pandemic; our high streets need rethinking.

While in Westminster June 2017- December 2019 Emma sat on the DWP Select Committee, then was PPS to Jon Trickett in the Shadow Cabinet Office. She was a member of the cross-house, cross-party committee working on draft legislation to demand registration of ‘overseas ownership of entities’ to counter money laundering by purchase of properties by anonymous overseas companies – a custom of hiding potentially dirty money to which Kensington and Chelsea has been heavily subjected. This was finally made law in August 2022. Emma was vice-chair of the following All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs): London; Planning and the Built Environment; Fire Safety and Rescue; CND; and was a member of APPGs relating to the Fire Services, Council Housing, Leasehold Reform. She continues to work on fire and building safety, being a regular speaker and panel contributor at events debating the numerous Grenfell related issues.

Emma joined RBKC Council in 2006, and has been Labour Group Leader, spokesperson for Planning, and sat on the Planning, Administration and Audit and Transparency Committees. She resigned from the Labour Party on matters of principle in April 2023 and now sits as an Independent Councillor.

Her book, ‘One Kensington’, a personal recollection of Council activities before, during and after the Grenfell Tower fire, was published by Quercus on 22 September 2022. She has spoken about her book at numerous events. She was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in May 2024.

After much persuasion from residents, she agreed to stand as an Independent parliamentary candidate for Kensington and Bayswater in the election on 4 July 2024.